While the top 6 picks remain the same there are a lot of changes in the bottom half of the lottery. There are also some players who have moved around and now been selected by different teams based on things I have heard from scouts and front office personnel. One week to go boys and girls… and I still expect two or three major moves to happen with teams in the lottery!!
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
(SF, C, SG) – No change at the top. I spoke with people close to the Cavs brass and was told that they were impressed by Embiid’s workout but also by the way he handled himself. Don’t believe the reports about his back being a big problem, I was told the back issue will NOT prevent the Cavs from making him the top overall pick.
Selection – Joel Embiid , C – University of Kansas
2. Milwaukee Bucks
(Scorer, Combo Forward) – The Bucks are intrigued by Embiid as well, but with the 7-footer off the board look for them to take the player who can have the more immediate impact.
Selection – Jabari Parker, PF/SF – Duke University
3. Philadelphia 76ers
(SF, PF/C) – The Sixers were dubbed “Tankadelphia” this year and the consensus all along was that the front office wanted to land Wiggins. They didn’t get the pick they wanted but they will get the player they coveted.
Selection – Andre Wiggins, SF – University of Kansas
4. Orlando Magic
(PG, PF) – I’m hearing Noah Vonleh’s name mentioned here now along with Dante Exum. While the team was impressed with Exum, the overwhelming need for a PG will outweigh everything else.
Selection – Dante Exum, PG – Australia
5. Utah Jazz
(SF, G, F) – The Jazz are forming a nice young nucleus with Trey Burke, Derek Favors and RFA Gordon Hayward. Add to that Enes Kanter and Alec Burks and the team has a nice young piece at each position on the floor. Look for them to try desperately to trade down but if they stay look for them to add a security blanket at SF or more backcourt depth.
Selection – Noah Vonleh, SF/PF – Indiana University
6. Boston Celtics
(Scorer, SG, F) – The Celtics need a legit scoring threat and could also use help at SG and F. Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle are names I am hearing right now tied to Boston. Many people think the Celtics are leaning towards Gordon but I simply don’t think they can pass up the scoring ability of Marcus Smart.
Selection – Marcus Smart, SG – Oklahoma State University
7. Los Angeles Lakers
(Everything) – Julius Randle is an option here and would fill a huge hole for the Lakers but I have heard now from two separate Western Conference scouts that the team absolutely loves PG Elfrid Payton and feels he could be a Rajon Rondo type with a better offensive game. This will all come down to opinions on Randle’s previously broken foot.
Selection – Elfrid Payton, PG – University of Louisiana at Lafayette
8. Sacramento Kings
(C, Defender, PG) – The Kings could use a defensive center that would allow Cousins to move over to his natural PF position. With no center worthy of this pick, why not keep Cousins at center and add a defensive minded PF.
Selection – Aaron Gordon, PF – University of Arizona
9. Charlotte Hornets (from Detroit)
(F, G) – The team has changed names and now need to finish changing their identity. The Hornets (Bobcats) finished in the bottom 3 teams in perimeter shooting in the entire league. For this team to take the next step they have to find someone who can shoot the ball. Enter one of the biggest question marks in the entire draft, a Combo Forward who can shoot the lights out.
Selection – Doug McDermott, SF/PF – Creighton University
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans)
(PF, C, SG) – Philly added Andrew Wiggins earlier and now will truly feel like they won the lottery when they can add a player who many believe is the most versatile in the entire draft and one who’s ceiling is off the charts.
Selection – Dario Saric, SF/PF – Croatia
11. Denver Nuggets
(SG, SF) – The Nuggets have one of the deepest teams in the entire league but have struggled to find consistency on the wings. Look for them to solidify that here with the addition of an elite shooter.
Selection – Nik Stauskas, SG – University of Michigan
12. Orlando Magic (from New York via Denver)
(PF) – After adding Dante Exum earlier in the draft look for them to add a frontcourt mate alongside Nikola Vucevic. The Magic will be both shocked and thrilled that Randle and his foot issues caused him to slip just outside the top 10.
Selection– Julius Randle, PF – University of Kentucky
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
(SF, PF, SG) –If Love hasn’t been dealt and is still on the team look for them T’Wolves to add a piece on the wing to compliment Love and PG Ricky Rubio. The Wolves best bet may be to find a player in the mold of Kevin Love though since his departure seems imminent.
Selection – Adreian Payne, PF – Michigan State University
14. Phoenix Suns
(C, SF) – What the Suns truly need is a star to add to the team, and with three picks in the 1st round don’t be surprised if they work hard to move up. If they stay put here they can go across the pond and address their need for a physical inside presence or add a wing scorer.
Selection –James Young, SG/SF – University of Kentucky
15. Atlanta Hawks
(SF, SG, PG) – Coach Budenholzer places a lot of emphasis on 3-pt shooting and with 2 quality SG’s slipping out of the lottery, look for him to upgrade his SG position allowing Lou Williams and Kyle Korver to resume their normal roles.
Selection – Garry Harris, SG – Michigan State University
16. Chicago Bulls (from Charlotte)
(PG, SF, C) – Derrick Rose and his bad knee(s) will be the lone point guard on the roster this summer. With 2 picks in the next 4 selections they need to address the PG spot, but a scorer like TJ Warren is too good to pass up at this spot.
Selection – TJ Warren, SF – North Carolina State University
17. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)
(F, Versatility) – The Celtics added a legit scorer earlier in the first round and now will be pleasantly surprised to see that they can bolster their front court with another player who has lots of versatility.
Selection – Clint Capella, PF/C – Switzerland
18. Phoenix Suns (from Washington)
(C, SF) – The Suns added a SF and a scorer just a few picks earlier. Here they get the big man they need to bolster their front court.
Selection – Jusuf Nurkic, C – Bosnia
19. Chicago Bulls
(SF, C) – The Bulls got TJ Warren three picks earlier to strengthen their SF position and now in case Derrick Rose struggles in his return they can address the PG spot.
Selection – Tyler Ennis, PG – Syracuse University
20. Toronto Raptors
(PG, PF) – I have heard that the chances of the Raptors re-signing PG Kyle Lowry are 50/50 at best. The team will look for an insurance policy here. If the land Lowry they have a great depth at the position.
Selection – Shabazz Napier, PG – University of Connecticut
21. Oklahoma City (from Dallas via Houston & Los Angeles Lakers)
(Depth) – Oklahoma City has as much talent as any team in the league and has had deep playoff runs in multiple seasons now. Here the Thunder can add a big to replace Kendrick Perkins but I think they will have a tough time passing on a big versatile combo guard.
Selection – Zach LaVine, PG/SG – UCLA
22. Memphis Grizzlies
(SG, Depth) – The Grizzlies desperately need to add shooters to their roster. Memphis will be hard pressed to pass up the unique size and skill set of the Blue Devil SG here.
Selection – Rodney Hood, SG – Duke University
23. Utah Jazz (from Golden State)
(Depth) – The Jazz added a nice piece earlier in the round in Noah Vonleh. Here they have their choice of adding more depth in the backcourt or the frontcourt.
Selection – Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG – University of Missouri
24. Charlotte Hornets (from Portland)
(CF, CG) – Michael Jordan was able to pick up a big time college scorer earlier in Dougie Buckets. Here he finds more depth by adding another player who can score the ball and play multiple positions.
Selection– Kyle Anderson, SF/PF – UCLA
25. Houston Rockets
(SF, SG, PG) – The Rockets need to add a player with versatility who comes from a program where winning is all they know.
Selection – Cleanthony Early – SF, Wichita State University
26. Miami Heat
(PG, Best Available) – The Heat can use another option at PG and also need to start thinking about what to do behind Dwayne Wade as his career winds down.
Selection – PJ Hairston, SG – Texas Legends – NBA D-League
27. Phoenix Suns (from Indiana)
The Suns continue to add talent and depth here if they keep the pick. Although as I stated earlier I expect them to package their picks to move up into the end of the lottery.
Selection – K.J. McDaniels, SF – Clemson University
28. Los Angeles Clippers
(PF, C) – Had the Clippers slated for Kristaps Porzingis here in my previous mock but he and his agent felt he could use one more year before making the transition to the NBA and I don’t blame them, he could be a top 10 pick easily next year. Still look for the Clippers to add a big man here to help Griffin and Jordan up front.
Selection – Mitch McGary, C – University of Michigan
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
(PF, C) – The talent rich Thunder added a quality combo guard earlier in Zach LaVine. Here they add more depth up front and find a replacement for Kendrick Perkins.
Selection – Walter Tavares, C – Spain
30. San Antonio Spurs
(PF, C) – Watch here as the Spurs do what the Spurs do. They will find a player who fits their “team first, up tempo” style who can play and defend multiple positions. Could be the steal of the draft if he slips here due to a car accident.
Selection – Jarnell Stokes, PF – University of Tennessee